Faith Leaders, Students, Parents, Ignite Moral Monday Movement in Chicago in Response to Office of Civil Rights and CPS Data Release on School Discipline

For Immediate Release

Voyce
Contact: 

Shawn Brown, Campaign Director
773-746-1491 (cell) shawn@voyceproject.org
Jose Sanchez, VOYCE Coordinator
773-827-6324 (cell) jose@voyceproject.org

Faith Leaders, Students, Parents, Ignite Moral Monday Movement in Chicago in Response to Office of Civil Rights and CPS Data Release on School Discipline

New analysis by VOYCE shows Black students over 30 times more likely to be expelled than White students in CPS, over 10,000 student arrests across Illinois, and more

WASHINGTON - Students, parents, faith leaders, and community groups from the “Campaign for Common Sense Discipline” ignite “Moral Monday” movement in Chicago with Faith Leaders addressing the moral failure of school discipline policies, responding to newly released federal civil rights data, and releasing fresh analysis of CPS/Illinois data on school discipline.

TODAY, Monday, March 24, 2014 at 5pm, community and faith leaders will gather at First United Methodist Church, 77 W. Washington, Chicago, Illinois for a rally and press conference. At the press conference, local faith leaders from diverse traditions such as Pastor Ron Taylor, Rabbi Joshua Selter, Imam Gemali Ibrahim, as well as parents, students, and community members from VOYCE, Community Renewal Society, Community Organizing on Family Issues, United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations, and more will come together to call attention to the moral failure of assigning our children to a system designed with prison in mind, and issue a call to action for our city and state to meet their moral obligation to educate children instead of incarcerating them.

“By bringing Moral Mondays to Chicago we are taking a stand to do what’s morally right for young people like myself,” said Mariama Bangura, a current CPS student and refugee from Ivory Coast who was arrested in school when she was 16. “Adjusting to life in the U.S. was very hard for me. Having been arrested in school I know first-hand how an arrest impacts a student’s life forever. Our system can and must do much better.”

Among key findings of VOYCE’s comprehensive data analysis include that:

In the 2011-12 school year, federal civil rights data shows that there were districts all across the State of Illinois that exhibited extreme disciplinary practices:

  • For example, there were 47 out-of-school suspensions for every 100 students in Thornton Township HSD 205 (South Holland), 36 for every 100 in Proviso Township HSD 209 (Forest Park), and 30 per 100 in Thornton Township HSD 215 (Calumet City). There were 595 students referred to law enforcement in Rockford SD 205, 448 in Township HSD 211 (Palatine), and 395 in Glenbard Township HSD 87. (Source: 2011-12 Civil Rights Data Collection)
  • Within the last school year for which we have even a partially-complete data set, there were over 272,000 out-of-school suspensions of Illinois students, more than 2,400 expulsions, and more than 10,000 arrests. This resulted in Illinois students losing well over 1 million instructional days due to exclusionary discipline, in just one year. (Source: Civil Rights Data Collection combined with Chicago Police Dept. Public Records Request)

Within CPS, an analysis of recently released discipline data shows that extreme discipline practices continue to be used extensively across the district, with alarming racial disparities. In the 2012-13 school year:

  • Black students were over 30 times more likely to be expelled than White students.
  • 25 schools across CPS had more out-of-school suspensions than students.
  • White and Black students were about equally likely to have their “misconduct” result in an in-school suspension, but Black students were 46% more likely to have their “misconduct” result in an out-of-school suspension, compared to White students.
  • There were almost 9 times as many out-of-school suspensions per Black female student as there was per White female student. (Source: CPS SY2012-13 Discipline Data)
  • Almost one-quarter of the arrested students were ages 14 and under
  • 96% of the arrests were of Black or Latino students. (Source: Chicago Police Dept. Public Records Request)
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